With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
"With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" South Park episode
Randy on Wheel of Fortune trying to solve the final puzzle.
Episode no. Season 11
Directed by Trey Parker Written by Trey Parker Production code 1101 Original air date March 7, 2007 Episode chronology ← Previous
List of season 11 episodes
List of South Park episodes
"With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" is the first episode 1101 of Comedy Central's animated television series South Park, and the 153rd episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 7, 2007. In the episode, Randy becomes known as "the nigger guy" after exclaiming the racial slur "niggers" on national television, leaving Stan trying to understand how Black and African Americans really feel when the word is used. Meanwhile, a dwarf has a hard time trying to teach Cartman to be sensitive.
The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and was rated TV-MA in the United States. Incidents referenced include the Laugh Factory incident in Los Angeles in which comedian Michael Richards angrily shouted racial slurs at an African American audience member who was heckling him, and later called Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to apologize.
Randy appears on Wheel of Fortune and is presented with a bonus round puzzle whose category is "People Who Annoy You". Randy is given the letters: R, T, S, L, and E. He adds the letters: B, N, G, and O leaving the puzzle to spell: N_GGERS. With five seconds to go he reluctantly answers "niggers" on live national television, shocking his family, friends and millions of viewers nationwide. The buzzer sounds and Randy loses; the correct answer is "naggers" and everyone stops in shock. The next day, Cartman warns a thoroughly humiliated Stan that Token will be mad at him, so Stan attempts to defend his father. Stan talks to Token and he tells him that his dad can sometimes be stupid, such as blurting out the "N" word, and Stan tells him that it is not a big deal. Token tells Stan he does not understand how black people feel about that word. Despite Cartman's attempts to escalate the incident into a "race war", Token refuses to fight. Cartman takes this sign of defeat as a victory and announces "Whites win again!"
Randy attempts to rectify his mistake by officially apologizing to Rev. Jesse Jackson. Jackson only accepts after Randy kisses his buttocks, of which a photo is published in several newspapers. Stan thinks everything is okay now, but Token states that "Jesse Jackson is not the emperor of black people!" (despite Jackson apparently telling Randy that he was). Meanwhile, Randy goes to a comedy club where the black comedian recognizes and points Randy out while jokingly calling him "the nigger guy", which soon catches on as Randy's new epithet.
Randy continues trying to redeem himself by founding a scholarship for blacks. However, he is soon accosted by a gang of socially progressive rednecks, who hunt "the nigger guy". They criticize him for "slandering an entire race of people on Wheel of Fortune" and say "We don't take kindly to social ignorance." A group of other "nigger guys", including Michael Richards and Mark Fuhrman, scare the rednecks away and invite Randy to join their organization of people who have become pariahs for the use of the word nigger. They successfully lobby Congress to pass a law saying at least seven words must always separate the words nigger and guy.
Back at school, a dwarf by the name of Dr. David Nelson is called in to give a presentation on sensitivity. He insists "Words are like bullets. They go through me." As soon as Cartman sees him he begins to laugh, disrupting the assembly so Dr. Nelson cannot speak. Dr. Nelson decides to go against his standards and get revenge by making the other kids mock Cartman's weight problem; however, he is frustrated as Cartman continues to laugh uncontrollably at him. Cartman and Dr. Nelson wrestle while the song "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed plays. Cartman gains the upper hand and forces Dr. Nelson to submit by saying "uncle" and "Carol Anne, don't go into the light!". Cartman then gets up and starts to walk away laughing and preparing to gloat about his victory. As Cartman turns his back on Dr. Nelson, however, Dr. Nelson surprises Cartman and kicks him to the ground. Dr. Nelson walks away claiming victory and to have proven his point. Cartman remains unaffected and continues to point and laugh at Dr. Nelson uncontrollably, clearly ignoring Dr. Nelson's desire for sensitivity. Stan and Kyle say that they have no idea what Dr. Nelson's point was, but then Stan concludes that not knowing the point is the point. He explains to Token that, as a white person, he will never understand why Token is so upset by the word, and why it can make black people mad when a white person says it in any context. Token is finally satisfied that Stan gets that he does not get it, thus creating an understanding between them.
Reception and controversy
This episode had news broadcasts on the CNN programs Showbiz Tonight and Paula Zahn Now in the days following the broadcast of this episode. Kovon and Jill Flowers, who co-founded the organization Abolish the "N" Word, which is linked with the NAACP, praised this episode, saying it was a good example of how it felt to be called nigger.
“ This show, in its own comedic way, is helping people to educate the power of this word, and how it can feel to have hate language directed at you. ”— Kovon and Jill Flowers
Parents Television Council founder L. Brent Bozell claimed that there was a lack of protest against this episode compared to radio host Don Imus's comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, even challenging Flowers' comments that the episode's use of nigger was not intended to be racist, but in fact the theme of the episode was to argue against those who support civility. The PTC named this episode, along with the episode of The Sarah Silverman Program that aired right after this episode, the "Worst Cable Content of the Week" in its campaign for cable choice. The episode received about 2.8 million viewers.
- ^ Transcript of "Paula Zahn Now" from 8 March, 2007. CNN. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
- ^ L. Brent Bozell. "The Incomplete Anti-Imus Lobby". Parents Television Council. April 12, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
- ^ White, Keith (2007-03-15). "Worst Cable Content of the Week - South Park and the Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central". Parents Television Council. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20070315181434/http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/cable/worst.asp. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- ^ Lisa de Moraes (2007). "The Show That Keeps Them Hanging On". The TV Column. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/13/AR2007031301820_3.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" at TV.com
- With Apologies to Jesse Jackson Full episode at South Park Studios
- With Apologies to Jesse Jackson Episode guide at South Park Studios
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